The importance of mommy friends

Being a parent can be a lonely business. Childhood Development expert, Anastasia Moloney talks about the importance of striking up new friendships and nurturing old ones

When you first become a parent there are so many new, exciting and overwhelming experiences. You feel all-consumed by this new love and can quickly become comfortable with isolating yourself. It’s really important to remember that you still need to find the time — for your own sanity — to make or maintain friendships. Often easier said than done.

With the tiredness that overcomes you as a new mom it is hard to find the energy and effort to get out of the house.  But, trust me you will be much happier once you do!  The truth is, parenting can be lonely, even when you have a great partner.  Especially if you are a stay at home mother, you need to seek out social interactions.  Any friends can be great to share with, but more often than not, what we truly need is someone else going through similar experiences. It is important to have someone to share your parenting challenges, exhaustion and struggles with as well as your joys and triumphs.  These friendships can encourage, challenge and help you grow as a parent and keep you healthy and sane.

For those of you who happened to have great friends who all had kids at the same time, now is the time to make sure you maintain and nurture those friendships.  For the rest of us who feel like they had kids earlier, or are living in a new area etc. you may feel like it is a true challenge to meet like minded friends.

It’s almost like dating again but much harder as we’re more out of our comfort zones now than when we were in college!  The first step is to put yourself in scenarios where you can meet people. Don’t give up when it feels lonely and frustrating.  Over time, you will meet more like minded people who you can connect with.  Just be patient and when you do make new mommy friends, be sure to take the time to sit, listen and share.

Here are some specific ideas on where and how to meet like minded moms:

  1. Parks/Playgrounds
  2. Library: many libraries offer story time for various ages
  3. Mommy and me classes: check local yoga studios, gymnastic centers, art studios
  4. Mom groups: often organized through a community center or a church
  5. Local attractions: such as the zoo, children’s museum, etc.
  6. As your child is close to preschool age there are often sports or preschool programs where you can meet like minded people
  7. When you attend these groups, look for other moms who are by themselves and try to start up conversation, even if just about the class. Who knows maybe you will connect and conversation will come naturally.
  8. Many of the classes can be recurring, so you will see the same people week after week which can make conversation feel easier and provide familiarity with that person.
  9. Once you meet the person, make an effort to make the first point of contact to meet again. It may feel awkward or unnerving at first, but who knows maybe they could be your new best friend.
  10. Invite moms in your child’s class for a playdate. Have a picnic or something simple where you can take the time to talk as opposed to just a drop off or pick up scenario.

Once you start getting out there it becomes easier to meet people.  Then comes the need to foster and maintain  these new friendships.  Try not to skip the wine nights or the play dates, even when you are worn out.  Work with your partner to create time in your lives to help make friends a priority. These small mom breaks or social interactions will help us  be happier, improve our self worth, allow time to destress, allow us to cope with challenges better and in exchange make us more successful in our mommy roles.